Julius Caesar’s Cell Block Tango

Date: 2009
Posted by: KiteShiro
Cast: Marlon Brando (Mark Antony), James Mason (Brutus), John Gielgud (Cassius), Louis Calhern (Julius Caesar) etc.
Credits: Music composed by John Kander, lyrics written by Fred Ebb
Duration: 7.22

Well, you can look at the phenomenon of YouTube Shakespeare and get all critically serious, coming up (you hope) with some telling observations which will advance the state of human knowledge, or you can just have fun. And this is great fun. It’s a fanvid, or the product of vidding (Wikipedia: “the fan labor practice in media fandom of creating music videos from the footage of one or more visual media sources, thereby exploring the source itself in a new way”). In this case someone has taken the 1953 MGM film Julius Caesar, and cross-fertilised it with ‘Cell Block Tango’ from the musical Chicago. Though the video quality is not that great, the re-cutting on the film to the music is spot on. What does is matter if the spoken sections don’t even remotely synchronise with the mouths? It’s funny. It makes you smile because you know the film, the musical and the play, and they come together beautifully. This is what 400 years of popular culture can do for us. And, let’s face it, Shakespeare would be kicking himself for not having come up with these words first.

He had it coming
He had it coming
He only had himself to blame

If you’d have been there
If you’d have heard it
I betcha you would
Have done the same!

Ending with the MGM logo is a nice touch too.

Links: YouTube page
Lyrics to ‘Cell Block Tango’ at Metrolyrics.com

Brush up your Shakespeare

Date: 2009
Posted by: hanidahshan
Cast: Michael Zananiri (Fred Graham), Nabil Shukri (Lippy), Hani al-Dahshan (Slug), Mohammad Dijani (stage manager)
Credits: Directed and choreographed by Hani al-Dahshan, DOP and lighting by Ahmad Gobba, music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Duration: 8.52

A ‘music video’ homage to Cole Porter’s immortal ‘Brush up your Shakespeare’, from the musical Kiss Me Kate. The rendition itself is straightforward lip-synching, but the build-up exchange between the three protagnists, shot in moody monochrome, makes the video distinctive, even if the song then comes across as slightly anachronistic. Why is was made, and with such care, seems unclear, except that the filmmaker declares “I’ve been in love with this song for 2 years and finally decided to make it into a music video.” So here it is.

YouTube page